In September 2014, a blazing fire at a house in Pickering, Ontario, had firefighters rushing to the area. Once the fire subsided, the authorities discovered Carmela Knight’s dead body. It quickly became apparent foul play was involved. A lengthy investigation subsequently brought to light a cold-blooded murder-for-hire plot. NBC News’ ‘Dateline: Fire and Ice’ focuses on what happened to Carmela and why she was murdered. So, let’s find out more about the case then, shall we?
How Did Carmela Knight Die?
Carmela Knight was a loving mother of two living in Pickering in the Canadian province of Ontario at the time of the incident. The home was on Pebblestone Crescent, and she owned it with her husband, David Knight. The couple had two sons together, but by June 2014, Carmela was pursuing a divorce. The 39-year-old was looking forward to moving on with her life and hoped to gain custody of their sons when tragedy struck, leaving Carmela’s loved ones with many questions.
At around 8 pm on September 15, 2014, the authorities received a 911 call regarding a fire at the Knight residence. The blaze had engulfed the home and the garage at the time. Once the fire was under control, the investigators found Carmela’s body in the garage, and it eventually became clear that she had died before the fire. An autopsy revealed that the 39-year-old had compression injuries in her neck, signifying strangulation and blunt force trauma to her face. The police also learned that the fire was deliberately started, and a syringe with traces of cocaine was found at the scene.
Who Killed Carmela Knight?
The investigation revealed that Carmela and David had been going through a contentious divorce, and David had moved out of the house before the murder. It was revealed that David had been having a long-term extramarital affair with Jill Hartman, a woman from Florida. According to Carmela’s mother, Franca Agosta, “She told me David was having an affair, and she had found a USB with pictures … they were nude pictures. He said he was going to end it. And he never did.” Franca stated the couple tried working on their marriage and saw a marriage counselor, but by June 2014, Carmela wanted a divorce.
Later testimony from Franca revealed that David allegedly broke a wedding photo in anger upon learning of the divorce. Carmela was killed just three days before a scheduled family court hearing where she was going to ask for their sons’ custody and child support. So, the authorities looked into David. The investigation then led the police to Graham MacDonald, an acquaintance of David who had been doing some repair work at the house around the time of the incident. The authorities believed that Graham was involved with the murder since David had an alibi.
The suspicions turned out to be correct, but not before a lengthy sting operation that had undercover police officers befriend Graham. An undercover officer contacted Graham in November 2014, posing as someone who dealt with stolen property. He was eventually introduced to other undercover officers posing as criminals and was asked for help with minor criminal activity for which he was paid. After the officers gained Graham’s trust, they got him to confess in January 2015 about the murder.
Graham admitted to killing Carmela and said that David promised him $100,000 as payment for it. At the time, he was worried about the authorities investigating him for the murder. He was then convinced by the undercover officers about a man who was dying of cancer. According to them, this man would make a dying declaration saying he killed Carmela but wanted some money to set up a trust fund for his kids. Graham agreed to the deal and provided a detailed account of how he laid in wait for Carmela on the afternoon of September 15, 2014, and strangled and killed her.
Graham further confessed to setting the house on fire after the murder. He also admitted to staging the scene to make it look like Carmela was taking drugs before her death. The authorities then monitored his meetings with David in February 2015, and during one such meeting, he gave Graham $5000. Eventually, the authorities arrested David and Graham after the latter received a rosary that was believed to be Carmela’s from David. The investigation also revealed that David made plans to move to Florida with his two sons after the murder.
David wanted to start a new life there and had inquired about buying a construction business, and he had looked into schools for the kids. The authorities stopped David before the planned trip, and he and Graham stood in separate trials for murdering Carmela. David’s brother, Matthew, was also implicated in the case because he knew about Graham killing Carmela but never went to the police with the information. Ultimately, David and Graham were sent away for life after being found guilty of the slaying.
Read More: Where is David Knight Now?